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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
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BATTLE OVER GOD

Women of the Wall Searching for Next ‘Struggle’

Police prepared for the monthly event, and from a law-and-order perspective it made perfect sense.
As a preventative measure, the police closed part of the upper plaza – above the prayer plazas, to keep the protesters away from the women's section, and all the Women of the Wall were channeled into the plaza through a passageway running below the Mugrhabi bridge.

As a preventative measure, the police closed part of the upper plaza – above the prayer plazas, to keep the protesters away from the women's section, and all the Women of the Wall were channeled into the plaza through a passageway running below the Mugrhabi bridge.

A group of some 400 Haredim on Sunday morning demonstrated against the Women of the Wall’s prayer with talit and tefilin, in defiance of the ruling of the local rabbinic authority, in the plaza in front of the Kotel.

(For the record, Israeli media sources kept referring to the place as “Judaism’s holiest site,” which is intriguing, seeing as Judaism’s holiest site is a mere 20 feet up and a couple feet eastward from that plaza.)

The Haredim carried signs that read: “Women of the Provocation, you invented a new Judaism, go find yourselves a new Kotel.”

Photo: Israel Karlitz, News24

Photo: Israel Karlitz, News24

As a preventative measure, the police closed part of the upper plaza – above the prayer plazas, to keep the protesters away from the women’s section, and all the Women of the Wall were channeled into the plaza through a passageway running below the Mugrhabi bridge (which leads up the Temple Mount) where the Women of the Wall were allowed to pray there without interruption. Also, inside the women’s section, police closed off an area with metal barricades for the Women of the Wall, so their prayer not be disturbed.

This was the way Police prepared for the monthly event, and from a law-and-order perspective it made perfect sense. If two adversary groups are planning to demonstrate at the same time, the job of the crowd control police is to make sure they never reach one another.

But that was not creating the effect that the WOW were looking for – the epic struggle images. Because, let’s face it, a revolution is like a shark – if it stops struggling it dies. And so, if the courts are now permitting them prayer, they must find someone against whom they can struggle, and a bunch of Haredim with signs 200 yards away just won’t do.

They were planning to bring a Sefer Torah this morning, but, thank God, somehow that was thwarted. The Sefer Torah will very likely be featured in the struggles to come, because the struggle can’t stop.

So, if police brutality was no longer available, the struggle today was against the injustice of separating them from their adversaries, or, they tweeted it, their “encaging.” They tweeted: “A horrible feeling. What a shanda to encage women at the Kotel.”

More tweets: “Boker tov and chodesh tov! 250 of us are on our way to the Kotel! … We are entering the kotel with police escort … We have been caged off in the women’s section and the other women are taking pictures of us … Despite the shock of being enclosed and gawked at, our prayer is off to a beautiful start … What a frustrating, painful feeling. Women in a cage at the Kotel.”

Also: “As we pray we hear protest chants against us from men and women. There are more of Women of the Wall here than all other women combined.”

To which one unsympathetic follower tweeted: “Why don’t you stop tweeting and actually pray?”

Later: “During the Shema we remember that even though this month we are encaged, at least we are not being arrested”

And a surprise note: “Several rabbis have come down and ordered the men back to their yeshivot to learn. There is nothing to see here. Just women praying (and tweeting – YY).”

WOW_060910

We’ll see what happens on the first of the month of Av, a month practically dedicated to Jew on Jew hatred. If you ask me, the proper response from Haredim and Modern Orthodox should be to cede the “holiest plaza” on that morning. Let it look like a ghost town – and let’s all of us go up to the Temple Mount for Rosh Chodesh prayer, complete with the priestly blessing.

Let’s show the world where Judaism’s holiest site truly is, and what Jews are capable of doing up there.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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13 Responses to “Women of the Wall Searching for Next ‘Struggle’”

  1. Shira Louis Yashin says:

    I second that. We'll take Har HaBayit and they can have the Kotel.

  2. Nmcva Mata says:

    Ha Mashiah will be crowned!!! Let them stay down…they will leave. ”We’ll see what happens on the first of the month of Av, a month practically dedicated to Jew on Jew hatred. If you ask me, the proper response from Haredim and Modern Orthodox should be to cede the “holiest plaza” on that morning. Let it look like a ghost town – and let’s all of us go up to the Temple Mount for Rosh Chodesh prayer, complete with the priestly blessing.

    Let’s show the world where Judaism’s holiest site truly is, and what Jews are capable of doing up there.” Amen!

  3. Ita Ariela says:

    With the Bais Hamikdash of course!!

  4. Yori Yanover says:

    Ita Ariela – Bais Hamikdash is optional.

  5. Dan Silagi says:

    Boo hoo. Yori, I guess you're disappointed that there weren't massive demonstrations against WOW which you could blame on WOW rather than your Haredi buddies. In three months time, give or take a couple, I predict that the Women of the Wall praying, singing, and reading from the Torah will become routine. You and your newspaper will need to find another target at which to tilt your windmills.

  6. Gary Dalin says:

    Their leader Anat is an employee of the Reform. Rosh Chodesh does not even appear on their calendar. Not one temple celebrates it. This is pure show paid by Reform in hopes to create a lifeboat for their movement on its deathbed for lack of future generations in the U.S. and Europe.

  7. For the record, the phrase is "tilting at windmills." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilting_at_windmills)

  8. Yori Yanover says:

    Dan Silagi · I'm not sure what point you're making. I also predict that the WOW will be singing and reading from the Torah and playing guitar on Shabbat and daven in mixed minyanim — I just think it'll be another nail in the coffin of our legitimacy in the land of Israel.

    Our entire justification for having conquered the land from the former inhabitants, which we have done, is that it was God given to us. Otherwise, we're just European colonialists who pushed out the indigenous people for no good reason other than the power of teh gun.

    If we believe that God gave us the land, we must ask what is our relationship with God? Do we bring anything into the relationship? Or is it essentially an empty slogan we don't really believe in.

    If we believe in it, then we must accept that our relationship with God is through the commandments, more accurately through our adherence to His commandments — because that's how He in his eternal wisdom told us.

    So that our adherence to halacha and our right to the land are inseparable, and if we don't adhere to halacha we have no rights here.

    Now, the most essential, most central, most crucial part of halacha is obeying the rule of our sages. In this case, there is one sage, who is state appointed, and he lay down the law — only to be defied both by the WOW and by two lower courts. Incidentally — the high court still sides with the rabbi of the Kotel.

    So, Dan Silagi, while I agree that your predictions are true, I also say that they make you and your ilk nothing better than the British and French oppressors of the black tribes of Africa and that you, as a secular European invader devoid of justification for your occupation, must at once relinquish authority over the land to its rightful Arab owners.

  9. Bear Klein says:

    People need to learn to respect one another even if they do not agree all things, including the way to pray. The Women of the Wall love Israel and I am sure Yori Yanover loves Israel. They should agree to get along and respect each other even if as Jews or just people they have different methods. Look for sameness and not differences in your fellow Jews or human beings and there will be less conflict and more constructive dialog.

  10. Dan Silagi says:

    I'm far more inclusive than you are, Yori, in what constitutes "legitimate" Judaism. And God didn't give us Israel, at least not the state which has existed since 1948. The UN did, in probably the last nice thing they've done for the Jews. Then we had to fight like hell for every square inch.

  11. Dan Silagi says:

    No, I don't adhere to halacha, at least the stuff about keeping kosher, only marrying a fellow Jew, and being Shomer Shabbos. Moreover, if our "sages" said that a woman cannot read from the Torah, than that "sage" is one in name only. (From what I've learned it's far from clear that women reading from the Torah, donning phyllacteries, and wearing a "man's style" tallis is assur in the first place.) As far as lumping me with "British and French oppressors," that canard's not even worthy of a reply.

  12. Dan Silagi says:

    But I'll reply anyway: I guess you'd regard Ben Gurion, Chiam Weitzmann, Golda Meir, etc. as "British and French oppressors." I'd be proud to be lumped together with any of them.

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